Three things I’ll be trying to pay close attention to Sunday night in the Colts game at Pittsburgh:
The offensive line: If you had to pick a spot of concern coming out of the Colts opening week romp over St. Louis, it was that the Rams were able to get Andrew Luck off his spot or even flush him out of the pocket some. The offensive line is a patchwork group still jelling, and could be the only thing to throw Luck off track. The Steelers are always a difficult team to block, though working against the Colts new 3-4 will help make the Steelers’ 3-4 less of an adjustment. Seth Olsen will sub for right guard Mike McGlynn, who came out of the Rams game with a high ankle sprain.
Bruce Arians: The offensive coordinator was unceremoniously dumped by the Steelers after the 2011 season. They said he retired, but he re-emerged in no time as Chuck Pagano’s offensive coordinator in Indianapolis. No team is going to plan a whole lot for a preseason game, but Arians knows the Steelers defense from first-hand experience, so I am expecting at least a few play calls that attack something he perceives as vulnerable. Surely he would like to send a signal or two that he wasn’t actually retirement ready. He’ll probably try to give running back Mewelde Moore, also a former Steeler, a chance to say something with his play to Pittsburgh management as well.
Pinning the QB in the pocket: Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is great at shedding players who think they’re going to sack him. If the Colts’ hybrid 3-4 front can get to him, it needs to be sure to get to his right arm to prevent one of those improbable late throws and get him to the ground to prevent any sort of deflating first-down scramble after a should-have-been sack. Charlie Batch is second in line at quarterback and doesn’t bring Big Ben’s size or strength.